You just called a law firm. They said they need to perform a conflict check. You might wonder why.
An attorney can only represent one side of a dispute. The things you tell an attorney during a consultation are protected by attorney-client privilege, even if you never hire the law firm. Anything you discuss, or even the very fact that you had the conversation, remains confidential and cannot be shared with anyone outside the law firm. This is like a doctor and patient, or a priest and a church member. It is a sacred trust of confidentiality.
What a conflict check entails
When you call the office of an attorney for the first time, before you actually speak to a lawyer, they most likely will have the staff perform a conflict check. They will likely ask you for many names, addresses and other identifying information. Although this may seem intrusive at first, it serves the very important purpose of ensuring no conflict of interest exists.
Imagine if you met a divorce attorney, shared with them very personal information, and the next day they spoke to your spouse, revealing everything you told them in confidence. To prevent this, a conflict check must take place to ensure that before speaking with a prospective lawyer, that lawyer or law firm never consulted with or represented the other side. In fact, if you contact a law firm and they do not ask you for this important information, do not hesitate to insist on a conflict check before you meet with them.
Ensuring protection for our clients
Musulin Law Firm takes conflict checking very seriously as an integral part of the attorney-client relationship. There are various reasons why a law firm could be prohibited from taking your case based on some relationship with an involved or interested person in the matter that could make the representation uncomfortable or inappropriate.
As part of the confidentiality related to the process, the details of a conflict cannot be disclosed. So, when you call the office for the first time and are asked to provide a lot of information, know that this process is the beginning of the protections offered to you by the law firm. And, if a representative from the law firm informs you that the attorney is unable to accommodate you with a consultation, it is not personal. Rather, it is our firm striving to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards in representing our clients.